9.07.2011

In Honor of Ester King: Lessons I Learned From His Words and Works




I will admit that the recent loss of Ester King was a huge blow to the community.
Honestly, my heart was heavy when I received a text message weeks ago that he had experienced a heart attack. And last week I got the news via another text that he had made his transition. I rarely, if ever, blog about the death of someone. However, Ester King is a man I looked up to and he always treated me like a little son.
As long as I have known him, Brother Ester was always working on behalf of our community. Whether it was speaking his mind at town hall meetings, confronting the wrongs of politicians, marching in Houston heat or sending emails about important issues, he stayed consistently focused on being a freedom fighter. He could be heard on the radio airwaves speaking truth and he never bit his tongue. He was not a coward.
When it came to the history of Houston and the struggles for justice, this man was a walking encyclopedia. What I loved most about him was he wasn’t just reciting the history, but he was an active participant in it. Yes, he could talk but he backed it up with actions. He supported all organization that stood up for the poor and if you called on him he was there.
The last few times we saw one another, I took the moment to tell him thank you for all of his hard work, love and dedication to the plight of our people and oppressed people everywhere. I told him that even though he was older than I am, I was “trying to keep up with his pace.” He would always laugh at that but it was the truth. The brother was on the move! So-called old age didn’t stop him.
In our last conversation, a week or so before his heart attack, his words to me were “Brother Jesse, seeing you and others doing what you’re doing makes me to know that all of my work has not been in vain. Keep going. Don’t let nobody stop you, son. We need more young warriors.” My response him was “Without you and other’s guidance, I would not be who I am today and growing to become.”
I joked with him that he’d become too proficient in emailing at such an old age and had become a “revolutionary spammer.” I jokingly threatened to block his email address and he laughed hard. We hugged and went back to work.
Many times people pass away without us telling them thank you or giving them their flowers while they can still smell them. I will miss Brother Ester and I am happy that I had an opportunity to at least tell him thank you. I will honor his life, God willing, by continuing to do good works in the community.
His family has requested in lieu of flowers that a donation be made to S.H..A.P.E. Community Center. Go to http://www.shape.org/
Thank you Brother Ester!
(You’re welcome to follow Brother Jesse Muhammad on Twitter @BrotherJesse or visit his award-winning blog at http://jessemuhammad.blogs.finalcall.com)